[BOOK REVIEWS #5] Street Without Joy : The French debacle in Indochina

Ed's Review: ★★☆☆☆

This is hardcore military history. It is mostly made up of phrases like 'X Battalion of Infantry Group X rallied to the defence of X Unit of X something or other somewhere...

The bits that summarise are few and far between and fall mostly in the Introduction and the Conclusion. If you are not a military general, this much detail is not necessary. In fact, it made it fiercely difficult to read. The summary of the early stage of the war in the late 40s is about right. Arguably, even a general or strategist wouldn't need this much detail, as often the end result was 'so they tried the same crap again and failed'. Over and over again. The war, it seems, was simply one defeat after the other.

The fact that none of these lessons were learned by the Americans for the Second Vietnamese War is somewhat telling. Reading this book is like slogging through a swamp, being eaten by bugs and flies only to reach a pretty non-descript end point and get shot for your trouble.

More summary/analysis and less detail would have made this a vastly superior book.